Saturday, 16 August 2008

I Hit French Water.

Yesterday we met Reg at 9:30 at the harbour. Getting on the boat was an amazing feeling. All this hard work completed, and now it was reality, I was going to swim the English Channel. The ride over to Shakespeare Beach was as smooth as glass. The observer commented how it was like a mill pond. Nearing Shakespeare Beach I saw two other boats with swimmers starting off. That excited me. I wasn't going to be the only one out there trying to swim. Ray (the first mate/Reg's brother) showed me where I was to jump off the boat. I swam to the beach. I tried my best to jump up the beach as quickly as possible in hopes that the pebbles wouldn't hurt my feet as much. Reg sounded a horn on the boat and I dove back into the water. It took a few strokes before it really sunk in. I was REALLY doing it, I was really swimming the English Channel. I began to get into the groove, putting one arm in front of another moving myself forwards towards France. The millpond status definitely didn't stick for very long. The wind had picked up and there were waves, probably about 2-3 feet high. According to the observer the water was 62 degrees when I started. So that felt like a bath tub to me. The water was really clear and I could see about 5-10 feet down. I swam by some patches of seaweed and then saw jellyfish around me. That of course freaked me out. After four hours the wind had not subsided so the waves kept shoving me around. Leore got in to pace. It was kind of scary because they kept wanting me to move closer to the boat, but the boat was pitching around like it was a little toy. At around 7 hours I puked because I had ingested so much salt water. Whilst I was puking I saw the French shoreline. That made me perk up and keep moving forward. By that time pretty much everyone had been sick except for Leore, Shanni, my Dad, Reg and Ray. Even the observer who claimed to never get sea sick got sick. The waves were seriously huge and made it difficult to swim. Sometimes the boat would tip so far it seemed as if it was going to capsize. Leore had been getting in pretty consistently since the 4 hour mark, hour in, hour out. But after awhile I realized she hadn't been in again. I figured she was taking some extra time out, which of course was fine. But apparently when she had wanted to get back in, the pilot said no. I decided not to worry about it. It started to get dark and I switched on my lights. The waves were growing larger by the minute with no sign of slowing down. At ten and half hours my dad told me that the pilot wanted to pull me. Of course, I was like "WHAT?!!" and when he asked me if I wanted to keep going for a bit I said yes. The last half an hour was horrible. I was crying in my goggles and trying to swim as fast as possible despite the waves. At this point it was completely dark, yet I still was not cold. I kept hoping that if I swam faster and kept going I would be able to make it. At my 11 hour feeding they pulled me out. They wouldn't let me keep going. I got onto the boat reluctantly. The ride back was horrible. Since I hadn't taken any seasickness pills, I didn't get seasick whilst in the water,but when on the boat I threw up. I fell asleep inside the cabin in a VERY uncomfortable position. Finally we reached the harbour. Greeted by the stench of fish, I dry heaved onto the loading dock. We all were happy to be on land, except for the fact that it still felt as if we were moving. I went to bed, exhausted and upset.
I was disappointed that I didn't completely finish. But at least I made an attempt. After I mull things over a bit, I'll decide where I want to go next. I may swim it again, and I'll definitely know what to do differently. I may try to swim across Lake Tahoe. But whatever I do I know that I will have my family and friends to support me, which I greatly appreciate. Thank you to everyone for your comments of support, it means a lot to me.

Thursday, 14 August 2008


Tomorrow August 15, I will be swimming across the English Channel to France. The one good thing that has come out of all of this waiting is the fact that I will be able to jump later. We are meeting our pilot Reg Brickell, at 9:30 in the Folkestone harbour. I don't have much else to say besides I am very excited and I hope that anyone with fish shirts wears them tomorrow! I'll report back after my swim as soon as possible. Thanks for all your support!! Cheers!!

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Still Here. Still Waiting.

I definitely know that I won't be going out in the next couple of days because the wind is gusting at 40 mph. That makes it nearly impossible to swim because it creates large waves and the wind is incredibly cold. So yesterday I went swimming in a nearby pool so I could get in a legitimate swim. The pool was so warm, and it was weird to swim in because it was 25 meters not 25 yards. I think the heat definitely did not help out my bee sting. My hand seemed to be more swollen than before. I took more benadryl to reduce the swelling and itching which essentially knocked me out for the rest of the day. We saw the new Batman movie later that night, let me just say it was a pretty good movie and that Heath Ledger played an incredibly creepy Joker. Today it was even windier than yesterday. We just swam for about 20 mins, just to feel out the water temperature. The Gellers went to Stonehenge for the rest of the day, whilst we are still here in Folkstone waiting for the weather to change.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Bee Stings and Sandcastles!

Today would have been a horrible day for swim across the channel. The wind was churning the water every which way. We went to swim at the "Sunny Sands. " It sure was Sunny AND Sandy. The wind would blow the sand into your eyes and it felt like knives when it cut into your legs. We still had to do our our ritual practice swim in the horrible weather. Our arms turned into icicles with the freezing wind/water combination. After subjecting ourselves to an hour in the water we got out to build a sandcastle. The City of Folkestone was holding a sandcastle contest. We entered ourselves as the "Bezerkeley Builders." We built a masterpiece we called "La Casa de los Tiburones" or "The House of Sharks." We made a castle with a huge shark head coming out of the middle. The walls housed other sharks and starfish. There were a lot of great submissions including one shaped like the Loch Ness monster, a sphinx, an otupus , some mermaids and an automobile. We only got runner up :( but it clearly should have won. Whilst getting our medal, I somehow got stung by a bee. I was literally just standing there and all of the sudden I felt a stinging sensation. Oddly enough the bee was pretty much split in half when I finally noticed it. My finger swelled up like a sausage despite my immediate dosage of benadryl. I went home to take a bath to help scrape off the layer of salt and sand. And unfortunately I found out that I wouldn't be able to swim tomorrow because my pilot didn't think it would be a good idea. So I'm still here waiting to swim.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Dover Castle Adventure

Today as usual we went on our morning swim. It was really choppy. So I am glad that we didn't end up going out. We did a lot more of body surfing than actual swimming. Afer lunch it started to rain as predicted by the very reliable weather people. Leore, Jasper and I being die-hard gelato fans still got some post-lunch gelato despite the windy atmosphere. I think people were staring at us, but that's not new, they always stare at the Americans. We decided to take our chances at Dover castle. Dover castlewas soooooo windy because it was at the top of a hill. Of course I didn't have a rain jacket so the parts that were outside were pretty miserable. The castle was pretty neat. Really drafty. Would have been FREEZING! in the middle ages. There also were tunnels that were used in the wars such as the Napoleonic wars and WWII. They made all of these tunnels to house troops in case of an attack. Some of the tunnels are under water too. But after we had an Dover castle adventure we came back to our beloved hotel for dinner. And we called the pilot at 8 as usual. And we are not going out to swim tomorrow because it is too windy. So hopefully tomorrow! Keep your fingers crossed! Thanks for all the comments of encouragement!

Friday, 8 August 2008

Still Waiting....

Today my dad went on one of his ritual morning time walks. But this time Reg's boat was finally gone. He was out taking across his first position swimmer. That meant good news for us. We had a very good chance of going out tomorrow. So in preparation for our possible swim we stayed in all day. Of course we did our morning swim and it was a very beautiful day for a crossing. (Lucky other person!) We watched the Olympic Opening ceremony which lasted like five hours. There were 204 different countries represented at the games and over 10,000 athletes. Since we're in the UK the announcers were all speaking from British perspective which was different for us. I didn't care for the announcer much because she kept bringing up negative things about China and their relations with other countries and about the controversies surrounding the games. The Olympics should be about uniting and forgetting about the politics that are invovled. The games are really inspiring and exciting to watch. I'm glad that I'll have something to watch whilst recovering from my swim. It's also really neat because open water swimming is making a debut at this Olympics. I'll definitely be watching that! Hopefully they'll allow more competitors in the following years because I definitely would love to participate in that! Unfortunately we called Reg at eight and we will not be going out tomorrow! :( The wind picked up...So we are still anxiously waiting for our swim to commence.

Thursday, 7 August 2008


Today my dad went on walk in the harbour but saw Reg's boat in the harbour mud. Evidently he didnt take his swimmer out. Of course we were wondering why he didn't take his swimmer out yesterday but we remembered that it began thundering and lightening. We decided that swimming in low tide was too frustrating so we decided to swim later in the day when the tide was in. The Geller's plus Jasper went to Canterbury to see the cathedral and other marvels, whilst my family walked around Folkestone. We walked all the way up to the west cliff hall. And saw some art pieces that were part of the art show called the Folkestone Triennial. After hours...ok slight exaggeration..of walking we met back up at the hotel to go swimming. Of course we didnt take into account the fact that the wind usually picks up later in the day, so the water was choppy. So Leore and I ended up doing more bodysurfing than actual swimming. We called Reg at eight o'clock as usual. He said that he was taking the other person out tomorrow for sure. Of course that could always change but hopefully not.